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With E3 not having taken place this year, and all the big players in the games industry having to adjust their plans to accommodate the cancellation of effectively every single physical event in the calendar for 2020, Gamescom is perhaps set to step up in prominence. E3 was canceled entirely, but Gamescom has instead shifted to an online-only format, and for their streamed Opening Night Live event, they had a ton of game announcements and trailers to show off. With a pre-show hosted by The Dark Prince of Nerd Media himself, Kyle Bosman, and the main show hosted by a mostly professional and emotionless Geoff Keighley, they dropped loads of new trailers for games we knew about, games we didn’t know about, and lots of other surprises.
Here’s a look at our top pick for announcements from the first day of Gamescom:
This was first announced back at Gamescom 2017, but now it has a release date. Not long at all to wait, since it’s going to be hitting Steam on October 15th. This looks to be an extensive remaster of the classic strategy game, with reworked visuals and music.
A new cinematic trailer for this year’s Call of Duty features the iconic American war criminal Ronald Reagan, rendered in remarkably accurate detail. His function in this game appears to be to use the authority granted to him in his role as President of the United States to instruct soldiers to commit war crimes because there is a bad man that is threatening “the free world”. Sounds like a great premise for a fun game of shooty bangs to me.
Another game that will be out before long, with a release date scheduled for October is Dirt 5. Here we’re getting out first look at the playgrounds mode, with a ramp to jump from, and some loop-de-loops which make me a little queasy. Looks like fun, especially for a type of game that can sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously.
This was our first look at the upcoming DLC for Doom Eternal. This story-based expansion is a continuation of the plot from the main game and shows your protagonist Doomguy grappling with questions of theology, as well as shotguns and plasma rifles.
EA gave us a trailer from Bioware, showing their team working on the new Dragon Age game. There’s no gameplay footage on display here, just a few shots of concept art, a couple of renders of some locations, some tech demos, and some members of the development team talking about their ambitions for the new game. In fact, it kind of reminds me of the trailer EA put out for their Star Wars games at E3 2016. Hang on, didn’t several of those games get canceled, and the studios shut down? Oh well, I’m sure this will be different.
Hot off the news that Fall Guys has managed to hit the 7 million units sales threshold on Steam, we’ve got a first glimpse of the upcoming season 2 update. This trailer showcases some of the new costumes and levels that will be coming to the game. This season has a medieval theme, with castles and suits of armor on display.
The excellent first Little Nightmares was a creepy action-puzzler in the popular “Small child runs to the right whilst eluding baddies” genre, along with games like Limbo, Inside, and Never Alone. The sequel looks set to continue that trend and looks to be increasing the scale and variety of environments too. One to watch out for, I think.
We’re still pretty curious about exactly how this will turn out. The fresh lick of paint this game has got certainly helps it look the part in 2020, but it remains to be seen exactly how this remake of a classic from 2002 will rework certain elements of the gameplay and story. This trailer does a decent job of reintroducing the characters and showcasing the polished cutscenes, and we’re hopeful that this remake is able to resonate with modern audiences.
This is perhaps the most noteworthy VR game on the horizon, now that Half-Life Alyx is already out. Developer Respawn Entertainment is taking the formula of a classic WW2-era first-person shooter, and rethinking it for VR. Some of the interactions you can have with the world and weapons in the world here look fantastic, and we can’t wait to strap a headset to our faces to step into this game.
We got a trio of Star Wars announcements. Or perhaps that should be a trilogy.
Star Wars: Squadrons
First up was the first proper look at Star Wars: Squadrons single player. This looks great to me, and is the first time I’ve been hopeful that this could be a worthy successor to the Rogue Squadron games. It’s a shame that, from what we’ve seen at least, there are no planet-based missions, part of me still thinks it’s not a real Star Wars game if it doesn’t have a Hoth level, but there are some large space stations at least, so it’s not simply a case of fights between ships taking place in empty space.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The entire film saga, but in Lego form. Assuming this is a faithful recreation of the movies, I guess we can expect one good trilogy, an incompetently made prequel trilogy that almost dips into so bad it’s good, before wrapping things up with a shallow remake of the first entry, followed by an interesting but flawed penultimate entry which then gets completely erased by the final entry so concerned with trying to be what everyone expects it to be, that it ultimately forgets to do, say, or be anything of any significance. Oh sorry, we were talking about video games. Perhaps LEGO format is the best way to experience Star Wars, going forward. We even get a glimpse of the Hoth level!
The Sims 4: Star Wars: Journey to Batuu
I did not see this one coming, a new expansion for The Sims 4 that brings The Sims into the galaxy of Star Wars. Or perhaps it brings Star Wars into the world of The Sims. It’s really not clear to me exactly what the narrative explanation behind this crossover might be, but it’s probably for the best if we don’t ask too many questions. Honestly, a lot of this is lost on me, but fortunately our resident expert on all things The Sims and Star Wars, Danielle, has taken a more in-depth look at this announcement.
This bizarre platformer about a ball of flesh with two flailing appendages is pretty creepy, and I guess a little funny? I’m picking up some strong David Cronenberg body horror vibes here, although with a hand-drawn animation style. It’s out now on Steam if you want to check it out.
I’ve had this one on my radar for a while, and this new trailer does a great job of selling the concept of the game. It’s a voxel-based, physics-heavy simulation of an abandoned set of buildings that you have to break into, with a freeform destruction system. First, you plan your approach, then you get in, get the job done, and then get out. It’s got a really pleasant visual style to it, and the freeform interactions give a lot of scope for fun experimentations.
The star-studded cast behind the characters in Twelve Minutes is the big news here, with James McAvoy (X-Man, Split), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, The Life Aquatic) all lending their voices to this replayable branching narrative game, which takes place over twelve minutes.
The latest expansion for World of Warcraft has now got a release date, it’ll be with us on October 27th, so plenty of time between now and then to get back into the game if you’re a lapsed WoW player. This trailer gives us a taste of some of the new locations and enemies that you’ll be going up against.
These are all the biggest trailers from Gamescom opening night, and it’s a pretty varied lineup, with a little something for everyone. What stood out the most to you? Let us know in the comments below which of these upcoming releases you’re most excited for.
Lewie skews Chaotic Good where possible, and loves pressing buttons, viewing pixels and listening to sounds. He's written for publications like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, VG247 and Kotaku UK, and spent 13 years running Savy Gamer. If you ever get the chance you should ask him to tell you the story about that time he had a fight with a snake on an island off the coast of Cambodia.